Carpinteria, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:CKR) and RWJP Star Enterprises have entered into a franchise development agreement to open a minimum of 121 Carl's Jr.(R) restaurants in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Tyler/Longview and Beaumont, Texas markets over the next 10 years.
Carl's Jr. currently has sixteen franchised units in Texas, including seven in El Paso, five in the greater Dallas area, two in Wichita Falls, one in San Antonio, and one in Laredo. In addition, Carl's Jr. opened three company-owned restaurants in the San Antonio and Austin markets this year and will open additional restaurants in these markets in the coming year. The company intends to aggressively pursue both franchise and company owned development in Texas where its products are very well received and the business environment is favorable.
This agreement is the latest step in the company's program to increase overall unit growth, particularly franchise unit growth. For fiscal 2009 to date, the company has entered into a total of 18 franchise development agreements representing commitments for 375 restaurants, consisting of 231 domestic units and 144 international units, including agreements to enter three new countries - China, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. Over the next five years, the Company anticipates it will add more than 800 new restaurants to its global store base. In the process, franchised restaurants should increase from 68.5% of the system to approximately 75% and international locations should increase from 10% of the system to approximately 20 percent.
"CKE has a long-term commitment to Texas as a new growth market and demonstrated the extent of this commitment by opening new company owned Carl's Jr. restaurants in the state last year," said Andrew F. Puzder, President and CEO, CKE Restaurants, Inc. "We will open further company-owned restaurants in the San Antonio and Austin markets in the coming year as we have been very pleased with the results of the restaurants we have opened in these markets to date. With this agreement to open at least 121 additional franchised units, we believe the Texas market will transition over the next few years from an emerging market for our brand, to a major stronghold. We anticipate entering into further franchise development agreements for Texas markets."
"We are also very excited about our newest franchisee, RWJP Star Enterprises, and have a high degree of confidence in their ability to succeed. Their retail and operations credentials are of the highest caliber. Their commitment to Carl's Jr. is well demonstrated by their willingness to commit to open at least 121 restaurants in the Texas market," Puzder concluded.
"We are excited to expand the Carl's Jr. brand in Texas," said Richard White, partner in RWJP Star Enterprises. "This was an attractive development opportunity with a company that has a long history of great food, operational quality and a strong balance sheet. We are looking forward to bringing the Carl's Jr. commitment to premium-quality burgers and service to Texas and building great relationships in these markets."
The new franchise partners, Jim Peters and Richard White, bring impressive retail business backgrounds to the venture, with more than 50 years combined experience. Peters previously headed operations at Ross Stores, Inc. as President and COO, served as president of US retail operations at Staples, and was a senior vice president at Office Depot. White's background includes founding W5 Networks, which develops wireless systems for retailers, as well as serving as chief information officer at Ross Stores, Inc.
Carl's Jr. and its iconic smiling Happy Star(R) logo have been West-coast favorites for more than 65 years. Industry pioneer Carl N. Karcher and his wife, Margaret, using $15 in savings and borrowing $311 on their Plymouth automobile, purchased a single hot dog cart in 1941 in Los Angeles. The Karchers grew their small business to include four hotdog carts and opened Carl's Drive-In Barbeque in 1945. They eventually launched the first Carl's Jr. restaurant, so named because it was a smaller version of their sit-down restaurant, in 1956. From a lone hotdog cart, Carl's Jr. has grown to more than 1,100 units in 14 Western states. The company recently installed plaques in each of its Carl's Jr. restaurants commemorating Carl and Margaret and their remarkable achievements.
Carl's Jr. is best known for its sit-down restaurant quality burgers. Carl's Jr. burgers are charbroiled, never fried, giving them a more savory "grilled in your own backyard" flavor. A Carl's Jr. classic that is sure to become a Texas favorite, the Western Bacon Cheeseburger(R) features a charbroiled all-beef patty, topped with two slices of bacon, melted American cheese, two crispy onion rings and tangy barbeque sauce. The premium Six Dollar Burger line at Carl's Jr. starts with a 100 percent Black Angus beef patty and is topped with market-fresh produce including whole-leaf lettuce, red onions and bread-and-butter pickles. Choices include The Original Six Dollar Burger(R), the Guacamole Bacon Six Dollar Burger(TM), and a Jalapeno-topped version. All sandwich offerings are available low-carb style, wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
Headquartered in Carpinteria, Calif., CKE Restaurants, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CKR." As of the third fiscal quarter ended November 3, 2008, CKE Restaurants, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,110 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 14 countries, including 1,185 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,912 Hardee's restaurants.
Source: CKE Restaurants, Inc.